About Florence Cathedral
About Florence Cathedral
Florence Cathedral is arguably the most beautiful building in the entire city and one of the finest gothic-style churches in the world.
Florence Cathedral is arguably the most beautiful building in the entire city and one of the finest gothic-style churches in the world. This impressive building rises high above its neighbours and is visible from all around Florence, cutting a bold shape on the cityscape. Understandably, Florence Cathedral is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit, so we’ve put together this blog post to give a little more background for people thinking about visiting Florence.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
We often refer to this building as Florence Cathedral, but its Italian name is Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which translates into English as Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower.So, when you’re looking for more information about the Cathedral or walking through the streets, look out for ‘Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore’; or ask a friendly local!
Il Duomo di Firenze
This grand cathedral was originally called Il Duomo di Firenze. This is why our Florence Cathedral tour is called VIP Duomo Tour & and Secret Terraces. This tour offers exclusive access to the terraces on Florence Cathedral’s huge dome and the option of climbing right to the top. If this incredible cathedral is one of your main reasons for visiting Florence, then our VIP Duomo Tour might be exactly what you’re looking for.
The History of Florence Cathedral
Florence Cathedral was built on the site of the city’s second cathedral, which had been dedicated to Saint Reparata, a third-century martyr. The original church had been constructed in the 5th century and had stood for over 800 years before the city’s officals decided that it was too small to serve Florence’s ever-growing population. So, in 1296, construction of the new cathedral began and it took 142 years to complete.
The cathedral was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, who had also designed the stunning Basilica di Santa Croce and Palazzo Vecchio (Florence’s striking town hall that overlooks Piazza della Signoria). Cambio designed the new cathedral so that it layered on top of the original Santa Reparata, incorporating many of its original designs and materials.
The cathedral was finished in 1436, 126 years after Arnolfo di Cambio died. Cambio’s scaled-down model of the cathedral sat in the side aisle of the church the entire time, as a guide for those who took on the project. Some of his designs were faithfully carried, whilst other features were changed or expanded on. Cambio’s designs for the eastern end for example, were expanded in the years after his death, and his gothic-style dome was completely abandoned. The finished structure ended up looking vastly different to the original concept.
Many different architects oversaw the construction of Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, each taking on the mantel of their predecessor. It’s also interesting to note that the cathedral’s construction was completely halted in 1348 by the Black Death which was ravaging most of Europe at the time. However, the Black Death only held up construction for one year, as the city began working on the cathedral again in 1349.
The Dome (Ill Duomo)
The most magnificent part of Florence Cathedral’s design is its dome. This vast structure has a complex story and was very difficult to build. The dome was one of the last parts of the project to be built and Cambio’s original gothic design was rejected in 1367 as the beginnings of the Renaissance pulled tastes away from Medieval Gothic styles and towards classic Mediterranean domes. The redesign of the dome came from Neri Di Fioravanti in 1367 and it was heavily influenced by Rome’s Pantheon. This new design based on the Pantheon met many technical difficulties along the way as the technology for making concrete was lost with the fall of the Roman Empire. Therefore, several new structural techniques were developed by Filippo Brunelleschi to allow them to achieve Neri’s grand vision.
We hope this blog post has been helpful and interesting. The history behind Florence Cathedral is fascinating and the building’s exceptional beauty helps its stand out in a city of exceptionally beautiful buildings. Please get in touch if you have any questions about our range of Florence tours or if you need help planning your Florence holiday. Plan your next adventure with Venice Events!